Low-fare airline Ryanair is to become the launch customer of a new plane with more leg room in a deal that could be worth as much as £13.6 billion. The no-frills Irish carrier is taking 100 of the new 200-seater Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft, with an option to buy a further 100.
The deal with Boeing comes just before Ryanair takes delivery of the first of 180 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The current 180 aircraft order will see Ryanair's fleet grow from 304 to 420 and its annual passenger numbers rise from 82 million last year to more than 112 million by 2019. The MAX 200 deal will mean Ryanair's fleet will rise to 520 aircraft by 2024, with annual traffic rising to 150 million passengers.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "We are proud and honoured to become the lead operator of Boeing's 'gamechanger' 737 MAX 200 aircraft which will expand our fleet and create another 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers in Europe. "These new aircraft will allow us to lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room."
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Ray Conner said: "The 737 MAX 200 is the perfect fit for Ryanair, providing improved efficiencies, 20% lower emissions, increased revenues and a high level of passenger comfort."